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Carrier WiFi

Wi-Fi's World Dominance

3:05 PM -- Consumers love Wi-Fi. They love it more than coffee and even more than beer. Now that the carriers love Wi-Fi too, the technology has secured its future as a go-to for mobile Internet offload. (See Mobile Internet Offload Grabs the Limelight.)

On 3G networks, it's because the experience is superior, and on 4G networks, it'll be because it's cheaper than the wireless network.

Wi-Fi vendor Devicescape Software Inc. put out its annual survey Wednesday, reiterating consumers' love of Wi-Fi, and noted that 73 percent of consumers said they'd switch wireless operators if theirs instituted tiered pricing.

As with TV cord cutting, I think this is an empty threat. Instead, consumers will continue to migrate to Wi-Fi wherever it's available. Long Term Evolution (LTE) may be able to provide the speeds and latency consumers require, but Wi-Fi will keep their costs down. Engineer Steven Crowley aptly Tweeted on Wednesday, "I can see Wi-Fi someday being the primary access interface with wireless operators, with 4G as backup."

The two will be inextricably linked, and I think it'll be interesting to see what wireless operators come up with to track, monetize and manage what today is just data dumping.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:02:39 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

Remember a few years ago, when municipal WiFi networks were going to take over the world and put broadband connections out of business?


I agree that WiFi will continue to grow in importance, but not to supplant wireless data. WiFi remains the very local option, and a great one at that.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:02:38 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

 


I wrote this to Phil today but I will tell you the way I think about this.


To me, WiFi is a huge bit of my carrier selection.  I find that 90% (okay more like 95%) of the cases where I want to do a significant amount of data exchange over wireless I am stopped someplace.  If that is true I almost ALWAYS can find a Starbucks or a Kinkos to get WiFi.  If I am planning to do some significant work wirelessly, I am looking for a spot like that anyway.


I use my 3G mobile as a supplement to that.  There are places where I am not in a WiFi hotspot or really mobile on my phone.  But if I have to synch apps or update software, I greatly prefer it to be over WiFi.  In general, I do not need to do that this exact second.  So, I prefer to do it where it is as fast as possible.


I originally picked T-mobile because of their WiFi support - both UMA and the fact that they had the Starbucks WiFi hotspot deal.  That has switched to AT&T and I have to tell you that this is a huge part of my carrier selection.


I use WiFi here at work exclusively.  I never "cord" my MAC nor did I my PC laptop at my last job.  I really want my compute power to follow me around the facility and am soon going to choose between a Chromebook or an iPad.  I really want a device like that to be my "normal" device and that a desktop/laptop become my exception.


seven


 

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:02:37 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

In general, I agree with your view of the world. I'm not as mobile in my job as you - I mostly am stuck in a home office then venture out on business trips - but when I do travel, I also go from WiFi hotspot to WiFi hotspot.


But there are plenty of times when the WiFi is weak - particularly in hotels and in heavily trafficked convention centers - and when I can get WiMAX coverage, it's ALWAYS better than WiFi. (Okay, I can't get it everywhere, not by a long shot)


So I think that better wireless broadband will have appeal that can't be met by WiFi.


That said, WiFi continues to grow in importance. I've had WiFi in my home for a decade now, but I'm using it with more devices than than just my laptop, so it's more important now than every before.

Stevery 12/5/2012 | 5:02:28 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

> Consumers love Wi-Fi. They love it more than coffee and even more than beer.


Not to nitpick, but LR needs to verify this outrageous claim with blind side-by-side taste tests.  My money is on beer.

smturner-nyc 12/5/2012 | 5:02:17 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

I look forward to  the day when I don't have to buy a cup of coffee in order to get on WiFi when not at home (not saying Starbucks coffee is bad).  On-the-go outdoor mobility over  metro-wide WiFi HotZones (at least high data-density areas) would be ideal. 


And why should I have to sign-on; would love seamless automatic "roaming" 3G-to-WiFi -- having the Mobile Operator "do the work", not me -- I don't have to sign on to AT&T for cellular service, or need to know when Carrier does a  "hand-off" when I've roamed out-of-network -- so why with WiFi;


Isn't WiFi it just another radio spectrum -- one would think that with some focused Bell Labs-type R&D and a little VC/Angel funding of "mobile WiFi infrastructure" (with the same current zeal that they're funding media-rich, data-hungry Mobile Apps  -- then  WiFi 802.11 could be made "smarter" and start  to "talking" to 3G/4G, right?


There's a start-up for which I'm co-founder that has developed a software solution for enabling such a  smarter WiFi:


Blu-Linx Technology imparts "3G-Smarts" to WiFi, so it fully-functions + interacts with a 3G/4G cellular network:

<ul>
<li>automatic User&nbsp;&nbsp;authentication (sign-on) + roaming 3G/4G-to- Blu-Linx-enabled WiFi, plus</li>
<li>all of the Carriers value-added services (SMS, MMS, IM, VOIP) work over WiFi</li>
<li>then deploy (by carrier or third party "carrier-neutral" entity) some of the long-range carrier-grade "super WiFi" antenna

(e.g., China&nbsp;Telecoms are starting to deploy larger-scale WiFi HotZones)&nbsp;to create WiFi MetroZones:&nbsp;

&nbsp; . . and, voila - on-the-go mobility for Users who can't sit still, while we&nbsp;using iCloud +&nbsp;streaming some video&nbsp; :)&nbsp;-- welcome to the Gigabyte Generation
</li>
<li>For the Carrier: ability to remain connected&nbsp;with the User (unlike now, where we just disappear into a WiFi hotspot cloud)
And an incentive to deploy this "3G-Smart" WiFi on a more widescale basis for faster, cheaper, "smarter" WiFi coverage

And we consumers get the superior speed of WiFi; video is the new voice (by 2012 predicted to be &gt;1/2 of all mobile data traffic).</li>
</ul>

&nbsp;


smturner-NYC www.blu-linx.com


&nbsp;

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:02:11 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

sm..


&nbsp;


How do you plan to handle the delta in the IP stacks from WiFi to 3G (for example) seemlessly? &nbsp;Have the WiFi network backhaul all the traffic to the carriers Switching Center?


seven


&nbsp;

Kiwin 12/5/2012 | 5:02:11 PM
re: Wi-Fi's World Dominance

In answer to Stevery's request for underlying data on Consumers love Wi-Fi more than:

<ul>
<li>www.wi-fi.org/news_articles.php?f=media_news&amp;news_id=723 </li>
<li>www.wi-fi.org/news_articles.php?f=media_news&amp;news_id=2 </li>
<li>www.wi-fi.org/knowledge_center/knowledge_center-didyouknow </li>
</ul>

regards, kiwin

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